Sunday, November 22, 2009

Poor Man's Studio Accomplishments

A few have asked how I accomplished my lighting for the photos I shared yesterday. First, absolutely nothing fancy - a true poor man's studio. I did use some newly learned knowledge about key, fill and rim lighting - acquired at last weeks photography group (BAG) through our church. We are so blessed to have professionals willing to spend time to put workshops together, and teach us for free on how to obtain better quality photos!

The room setting:
Refinished basement at our neighbors home. The idea was to use an antique, refinished workbench containing all kinds of knicks and cuts from years of use. I was looking for a rustic surface to photograph some of Marv's belongings on.

The lights:
Typical can lights in the ceiling - which we believe are incandescent. Above the workbench were two sets of tracks about 24" wide with three small lights - appeared to be "art lights" with a daylight cast. These were aimed at two paintings on the wall, which we removed, and used clothespins to secure a backdrop cloth to the nails.

I am pretty sure I took this photo with my Nikon D80 on full automatic - no flash. Very dark. I switched to manual and metered my camera to zero.

It was obvious I would need a KEY light. I used a clamp light that has a 60 watt equivalent full spectrum bulb. There was nothing to clamp it to, and pretty much I set my light down on the far end of the work bench to my right. I was worried about using a daylight bulb, since I wanted a warm glow for some of my shots, but things worked out as I wanted. I believe I metered up once or twice, and left it at that setting for the rest of the shoot, once my lights were established.

I should mention I shot my photos at aperature priorty, with a mix of manual and autofocus. I also did not change my white balance and left it on the default: incadescent. I wanted a warm look to my photos - and the sample shots I took were pleasant, so I saw no need to change the white balance.

Too much shadow on the left, so a fill light was added. Of course I forgot the floor lamp at home that I intended to use, with a daylight bulb to match my key light. I was taught at the workshop that all your lights should match. We ended up using a table lamp on hand, removed the shade, and it had a compact flourescent, which seemed to give a blue cast, definitely not yellow. Carefully we tipped it on its side, propped where needed so it would not roll off, and aimed as desired.

I was so glad for my friend, Deb, and her help. Truly, one cannot do such shoots without an assistant. I used my car windshield reflector as a reflector in front of my key light - the idea was to bounch some light back towards the light and reduce glare on my photos.

The final result. I love this photo collage, which is very true to color do to the added in lighting.

I have to say how blessed I am to have an elderly friend who has collected antiques for years. She loaned me marbles, depression era, an old tin horse and sheep, and small, red leather kid boots - one could not ask for any better props than these!

Switch around...when we changed our backdrop and table to the burlap - the lighting changed. The casting of the light became yellow - because of the material. Seriously, we did not change any of our lighting. It WAS the look I had envisioned for these photos - got to give God praise for that! This photo below captures the true "essence of Marv".

I did move my fill light towards the back of the table to change my shadows a bit, at which it is then referred to as a rim light.
I don't know if this information is of any help to you or not, but for those of you who asked...this is how I accomplished my Saturday photo shoot.

1 comment:

Donna Polley said...

This is truly a special gift you are doing for the family.I love that you share the things you learn with us all.